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Our Team

Our Founders

Richard Rusczyk

Art of Problem Solving was founded by Richard Rusczyk in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students. Richard is the author or a co-author of 7 AoPS textbooks and a past Director of the USA Mathematical Talent Search. He was a participant in National MATHCOUNTS, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner (1989). He received the World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions Paul Erdös Award in 2014. He graduated from Princeton University in 1993, and worked as a bond trader for D.E. Shaw & Company for four years. AoPS marks Richard's return to his vocation - educating motivated students.

Glen Dawson

Glen Dawson is the National Director of AoPS Academy. In 2014, Glen founded a learning center in Morrisville, North Carolina, that two years later became the first AoPS Academy campus. He has experience as a college math professor, statistician, and expert SAS programmer. He has been a professional math tutor for many years, and specializes in training academically-advanced and high-performing math students. Glen is a graduate of Duke University and holds a graduate degree in statistics from Boston University.

David Patrick

Dave joined AoPS in 2004. He is the author or a co-author of 4 AoPS textbooks. Dave earned the sole perfect score on the American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME) in 1988 and was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner that year. He attended the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 1987, and the Math Olympiad Summer Program in 1988, where he first met fellow student Richard Rusczyk. He also finished in the top 10 on the Putnam exam in 1991. Dave graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1992 with a BS in Mathematics/Computer Science and an MS in Mathematics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1997. He was an acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington from 1997 to 2001. Dave is originally from Western New York and is an alumnus of the SUNY Buffalo Gifted Math Program.

Management Staff

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Mark Smith - Campus Director

Mark is the Campus Director for AoPS Academy in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Houston at Victoria and a Master of Education degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has worked at schools in the US, China, Hong Kong, and Jordan teaching a broad range of rigorous math and computer science courses and leading both mathematics and technology departments, through all of which he has shared his passion for math and technology through active, student-centered and inquiry-based pedagogy. In his spare time, Mark likes to tinker: on his computer with web design, in his workshop with tools, and with various instruments making music.

Mark Smith - Campus Director

Anatole Ginsberg - Assistant Director

Anatole is the Assistant Director for AoPS Academy in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He holds an IB Diploma and a dual BA from Vassar College in mathematics and Chinese. He has been passionate about the exploration of math since he was 13, when he accidentally derived the quadratic formula and realized math was more about logic than numbers. His varied interests have led him to jobs in investor relations, veterinary medicine, daycare, and comedy, but the siren call of math education has always brought him back. Anatole has taught diverse math students in Beijing, New York, and San Diego. He speaks French, Mandarin, and Spanish, and doodles Fibonacci spirals to relax.

Anatole Ginsberg - Assistant Director

Lisa Voss - Language Arts Department Chair

Lisa is the Language Arts Department Chair. Lisa has more than 16 years’ experience developing and delivering academic writing courses. Her areas of expertise include developmental English, basic and advanced composition, technical writing, business writing, and creative writing for students from middle school through graduate school. She is also a playwright whose work has been produced in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Lisa has an MA in Fiction Writing from The Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lisa Voss - Language Arts Department Chair

Carol Vederman - Community Outreach Coordinator

While director of admissions for a study abroad program, Carol became inspired by the power of experiential learning as she witnessed high school students regain a joy of learning and curiosity akin to their earlier years. As a native Washingtonian and alumna of The George Washington University (M.Ed., Secondary Education), she is passionate about education and considers it a privilege to promote a transformative curriculum to the region where she has established relationships with students and their families, school administrators and educators, board members and donors. She lives in Dickerson, Maryland, with her husband, Harris, and their hockey players, Cecelia and Adeline, and their pooch, Bruin. Besides hockey and family, she loves country music, walks on the C&O canal and hitting flea markets.

Carol Vederman - Community Outreach Coordinator

Instructors

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Jonathon Baker

Jonathon has spent ten years working in various locations teaching mathematics to many diverse people. He has spent most of this time working for the Community College of Baltimore County as an adjunct Professor of Mathematics and Baltimore County Public Schools as a math teacher. He currently holds a Bachelor's degree from Goucher College in Mathematics and is working toward his Master's Degree in Mathematics. He thoroughly enjoys the field of teaching and working with the kids at AoPS Academy.

Jonathon Baker

Jasper Diggs

Jasper joined AoPS Academy in 2017. Both Jasper’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees deal with reading specialization in the elementary grades. She has been an educator for the past 15 years--13 years with Montgomery County Public Schools and 2 years with Okaloosa County in Destin, FL. In 2015, Jasper worked as a reading interventionist for Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR). Since then, she has continued to pursue opportunities that allow her to practice her specialization in reading diagnostics. She currently serves as a reading specialist in the public school system. In her spare time, Jasper loves to read anything suspenseful or quirky, and she shares this love with her monthly book club. She looks forward to instilling a love of reading in her AoPS Academy students!

Jasper Diggs

Dr. Jean Freedman

Jean Freedman has a BA in theater from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA and PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University and Montgomery College. She is also a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Journal of American Folklore, and other publications. Her latest book, Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics, is a biography of acclaimed folk musician Peggy Seeger.

Dr. Jean Freedman

Dr. Mark Helfand

Mark is a retired earth scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Goddard Institute for Space Studies. At GSFC, he researched the Earth’s atmosphere and climate variability, designed and built state-of-the-art Numerical Weather Prediction and Climate Simulation models, and lectured in outreach programs as a NASA “Ambassador." Mark holds a BS in Mathematics from MIT and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University. Mark has taught mathematics and earth science at several universities, and currently is a substitute math and science teacher within the Montgomery County Public School System. He is a scientific consultant and independent scientific and technical editor.

Dr. Mark Helfand

Gil Laqui

Gil has twenty years of teaching experience in Mathematics in both public and private schools. He has a Bachelor of Secondary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with Specialization in Actuarial Science and Statistics from De La Salle University, Manila. Gil has coached many students for various math and robotics competitions, including the Robotics team that won the 2017 Robotics Skills and Team Awards in Washington DC.

Gil Laqui

Dr. Alessandra King

Alessandra is an astrophysicist by training, with a Doctor of Physics degree from Milan University. She has over 15 years of experience teaching mathematics at several local schools. She was Director of the mathematics department at Green Hedges School in Vienna, VA for over 7 years, and currently teaches middle and high school level mathematics at Holton-Arms School in Bethesda.

Dr. Alessandra King

Michael Maschmeier

Mike joined AoPS in the Fall of 2017. He has taught English as a Second Language since 2014, living and working first in Seoul, South Korea and last academic year in Izmit, Turkey. While teaching the International Baccalaureate program in Izmit, he also served as the faculty adviser for the school's new Model United Nations club, taking the team to an award-winning conference appearance only a few months after the club was founded. He has also tutored students of all ages in ESL and Language Arts. In his spare time he enjoys gaming with friends, listening to audiobooks, and following politics and current events. He is looking forward to being able to watch American football again, especially the Virginia Tech Hokies. He graduated from American University in 2008 with a B.A. in International Studies.

Michael Maschmeier

Yvonne O’Neill

Yvonne O’Neill currently teaches First and Second grades and serves as the After-Care Program Director at The Avalon School, located in Gaithersburg, Md. She has first-hand experience teaching boys; she and her husband have raised six sons. A graduate of Washington College (82’), Yvonne worked at The American University, Washington College of Law while pursuing her Master of Science degree in Public Relations at The American University (86’). Prior to joining the Avalon Faculty, she served as a substitute teacher and First Grade teacher assistant at St. Jane de Chantal School, in Bethesda. Yvonne began her formal teaching career at Bradley Hills Pre-school and also taught at the Holton Arms Creative Summer Program. She, her husband Tom, and a selection of sons reside in Bethesda, Md. In her free time, Yvonne puts her heart and energy into her growing family.

Yvonne O’Neill

Shahzad Rajput

Shahzad has over 10 years of teaching and research experience. His area of expertise includes using computers for understanding and analyzing text. After earning his B.C.S at the FAST Institute of Computer Science, Pakistan, where he had a merit scholarship, Shahzad earned his M.S. in Computer Science at the National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences, Pakistan. Shahzad strongly believes that building a strong mathematical foundation at a young age plays a key role in maintaining interest in mathematics later in life, thereby maximizing the student’s career options. Shahzad's hobbies include playing strategy games and cricket.

Shahzad Rajput

Phil Rennert

Phil is a semi-retired research engineer in information science, in the overall business of extracting wisdom from information overload. He specializes in machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, and statistics. Earlier Phil worked for NASA, doing Space Shuttle guidance and control and satellite orbit determination. Phil's teaching experience includes remedial math instruction for college freshmen, and volunteering for Mathcounts. Phil has a BA in math from Yale and an MA in applied math from NYU. He's an alumnus of MIT's high school studies program.

Phil Rennert

Cezar Serban

Cezar received his undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University in 2004. He participated in math competitions in middle and high school, and later fell in love with teaching math to bright students as a TA in college. He first discovered AoPS in 2013 and has been hooked on problem solving ever since. He's had a blast being involved with the AoPS online community and classes as a student, grader, and course assistant. Cezar's other hobbies involve running long distances, playing lots of chess, and attempting to improvise jazz on his clarinet, all while being constantly entertained by his highly energetic six year old son.

Cezar Serban

Laura El Shafei

Laura El Shafei is a life-long learner and educator and brings many years of language education experience to her position as a Language Arts Instructor at AoPS. Having recently returned to the USA after many years living and working internationally, she currently serves as the Student Success Coordinator/Educator at the University of Maryland’s School of Nursing at the Universities at Shady Grove. Prior to moving to Maryland, Laura served as a US State Department-sponsored English Language Fellow in Algiers, Algeria, and as an academic and research writing instructor at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. She holds master’s degrees in Applied Linguistics/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and in Public Health (MPH). She is a seasoned registered nurse (RN) and has volunteered for many years with the American Red Cross and refugee services both domestically and abroad.

Laura El Shafei

Ben Stone

Ben Stone is an experienced high school math teacher who has assisted in many of the Art of Problem Solving online classes from Pre-Algebra to Calculus. He is also a very experienced teacher of math competition classes. Ben was a three-time AIME participant, and also placed second in the Oregon High School state math championships. Ben holds a B.S. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Washington. Ben is also a content developer for the Art of Problem Solving's Beast Academy online, for students from grade 2 to 5.

Ben Stone

Darius Summers

Darius joined AOPS Gaithersburg in 2018. He is adept at motivating students and creating inspiring, yet disciplined, learning environments that establish a firm foundation for lifelong learning. Currently a Master Training Specialist in the United States Navy, Darius is pursuing his Ph.D in Education at the Notre Dame of Maryland University. In 2015, he earned his BS in Health Science at Trident University International in Cypress, California, and in 2016, he earned his MBA in Healthcare Management at the University of Texas at Tyler. From 2003 to 2005, Darius studied Applied Science – Engineering Studies – at Michigan Technological University. He currently belongs to both the National Society of Leadership and Success and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management.

Darius Summers

Dr. James Tian

James is a math professor at Hampton University. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Mathematics from The University of Iowa, and has over 10 years teaching and research experience. His work involves questions originated in signal processing, machine learning, operator theory, and mathematical physics.

Dr. James Tian

Joyce Yang

Joyce Yang has participated in math competitions including the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML) and American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). Ms. Yang obtained a B.S. in Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College in 2016 and started grading for Art of Problem Solving in 2011. Ms. Yang also has experience in research in mathematics and statistics.

Joyce Yang
"AoPS Academy has a superb curriculum, combined with outstanding teachers who have provided our son a fantastic foundation in mathematics. If only I could have experienced teaching like this when I was young, it would have changed my career choice. The academy is a perfect extension of school in that they challenge students to learn at a much deeper and rigorous level. They also stimulate their interest in mathematics by emphasizing analytical thought over rote memorization of formulas.

The academy truly lays a deep foundation in mathematical thinking for success in all areas involving STEM subjects. It is really exciting to be among teachers and children who love math!

The harder the problem - the more exciting it is to the students and teachers at AoPS Academy."

-Molly and Richard T.
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